Simon Family World Trip

Now back in Newton, Massachusetts!
Journal Entries for August 2000
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Patty's Closing Essay - August 2000

I am sitting at this computer in France after having a few weeks to ponder the thought that this trip is coming to the end! Our good friends from home, the Levitts, just left and I feel like we have had our first taste of 're-entry'. (I have to say I feel like an astronaut that has been on a long space mission about to come 'back to earth'!)

If someone were to ask me what this trip has been like· I would quickly answer, "Surreal!" I know I went through the motions. It was tremendous amount of preparation and a lot of energy to do but I still feel like I had to pinch myself all the time to remind myself that it was actually happening. I cannot believe after 22 countries that it is actually over and we did it with such success. (I keep thinking of the people back home that had bets on how long we would last· with ourselves, with our children, with the hassles of traveling or lets face it, with the 'differences' of culture we were always up against.) But there is the side of me that would say it was absolutely heavenly. Dick says I do a good job of ignoring the 'junk' and have a tendency of dwelling on the 'romantic' side of life. So be it, it works. I loved being with just Dick and the kids. I loved the different cultures (even the hassle times). I loved the time spent away from our normal life to just relax, take it all in, read, write and learn. What a treat! And I can't help but wonder why we were the lucky ones to get to do this sort of thing. Viewing the world on such a broad scale makes you ponder the big picture and how one fits in. It makes you think of what is really important and what is not. It keeps you focused on your family and gives you the opportunity to really find out who your kids are and who you are. It gives you the chance to set your own pace, go your own direction and do your own thing.

I remember 15 years ago when Dick and I went with another good friend, Dale. We were all wondering how we would feel at the end of the year. Would we be ready to go home· did we get traveling out of our system? I will never forget standing in the French train station and we all said "No!" to both questions. I look back on that time and realize we were younger and in transition on so many levels and we all never really even knew where we were going to live. This time is very different. We are older and we left a great life back home with friends and family. So, in some ways the 're-entry' will be much easier. But, I have a little confession to make. There is a part of me that is sad it is all over. I now know the truth about myself. I love to travel. I love to see the world· all the people, all the landscapes, all the animals, all the histories, all the folk art, all the delicious food, all the differences! And, best of all, I got to do it this time with the kids. It was great to see our they processed each country. It boggles my mind that as I will be living my suburban life in Newton, Massachusetts, there will be all these people I have met that are living right along with me in their own ways. I feel connected with the whole world and that feels comforting.

The big question for me is how will this trip affect my future life in suburban Newton, Massachusetts. The answer is "I don't know but, I guess, that is the next great adventure!"

I wanted to take this time to thank our family and friends who have been so, so very supportive of our craziness. It was comforting to me to feel so loved. I really enjoyed all my new email relationships and hopefully I will continue when I get home with those that are out of town. Thank you to all the people we met along the way that helped make each day wonderful. We have many new friends that I hope we will stay in contact with.

And lastly,
For my own processing of the trip, here is a list of my favorites along the way!

Costa Rica - the Scarlet Macaws flying in pairs almost in silhouette but then the sun would shine and show off their brilliant color. WOW

Guatemala - first day outside Guatemala City going to Antigua and seeing my first Mayan women in traditional dress carrying a basket on her head. I almost cried.

Honduras - snorkeling for the first time with our kids and watching the wonder as they discovered what was 'under' the water'.

Mexico - as we only spent 6 hours there·buying folk art for my multicultural 'Discovery Boxes' I want to develop for children in school.

Thailand - hiking and camping overnight in a traditional village and watching how the people pound rice

Laos - waking up at dawn to watch the orange clad Buddhist monks with their brass collecting bowls go from door to door collecting food from the locals.

Cambodia - the gnarly monstrous roots growing out from Angor Wat and other temples (something I had wanted to see all my life)

India - the fairytale quality of Samode palace with its grand entrance in candlelight and drumming· hand painted mirrored rooms and silver furniture. The camels on the road and Ben (6 years old) who quickly figured out his version of how economics works in developing countries· from bicycles to taxis!

Nepal - the family trek· doing something so physically challenging, being in the Himalayan landscape and meeting the villagers along the way.

Bhutan - going to a closed culture in a Shangri-La environment and feeling like you are part of the culture· not a tourist. Thank you Chorten and Samba!

Japan - the beauty of Miyajima Island, Shinko (our hostess who cried when we left), the deer, the walk with Katie, the little song which woke you each morning!

China - the adventure we had on the Great Wall!

Greece - the visual beauty and splendor of the turquoise caldera in Santorini off-season and relaxing for so long!

Holland - the short but sweet visit from Anne Franks house, all the teapots hanging from the Dutch pancake house and the Fairy store (thanks Dee Dee!)

Namibia -absolutely for me the LANDSCAPE· it dug deep into my West Texas upbringing· the red sand dunes I will never forget.

Botswana - gliding along in 'mokorros' (dugout canoes) in Okavango Delta taking photos of every water lily and watching the kids take great delight in making campfires like they did on the trek in Nepal

Zimbabwe/Zambia - the wonders of Victoria Falls· the intensity of the water, flying over to actually understand what happened geologically and thinking what it must have been like for Livingstone to discover it.

Kenya - our first glimpse and understanding of the Massai people. They are the first group of indigenous people that actually have figured out how to beat the system and exist along with it. Bravo!

Tanzania - ahhhh· those animals that I connect with almost in a spiritual way. I already miss them and the landscape. And, getting to meet and learn about how the 'hunter /gatherers' live. I, again, almost cried. I love indigenous peoples.

France - going back to a place we loved so much and finding that we still loved it (St Leonard des Bois and St. Ceneri)· we truly relax there so it felt great.

Denmark - an added jewel· my size of country, you immediately feel good in and not overwhelmed· our dinner with Leif 's Mother (traditional Danish cooking which resembles and touches on my Irish roots) And of course, Legoland! The country feels like it celebrates children and I like that!

Norway - as Alex says, "the air"· so clear, clean, healthy! The sky that wanders in and out of the craggy landscape of rock and sea. (As we flew into land in Bodo, which is above the Arctic Circle, I could not help but think of the landscapes in Namibia and Tanzania, which are so different.) What a world we live in! For all the Scandinavian countries · the sense of design. I love it.

Complete Simon Family Itinerary as of August 17, 2000

Nov 27 - Dec 20 - Costa Rica
Nov 27 - Maria Alexandra Aparthotel, San Jose
Nov 28 - Lapas Rios Hotel
Nov 29-Dec 1 - Tulemar Bungalows, Manuel Antonio National Park, Quepos
Dec 2-7 - Lookout Inn, Carate, Osa Peninsula
Dec 8-10 - El Sapo Dorado Lodge, Monteverde
Dec 11-12 - Arenal Lodge, Arenal Volcano
Dec 13-15 - Selva Verde Lodge, Serapiqui
Dec 16-18 - Mawamba Lodge, Tortuguero
Dec 19 - Maria Alexandra Aparthotel, San Jose

Dec 20, 1999 - Jan 6, 2000 - Guatemala
Dec 20-22 - La Quinta De Las Flores, Antigua
Dec 23-26 - Mayan Inn, Chichicastenango
Dec 27 - Aurora Hotel, Antigua
Dec 28-29 - Jungle Lodge, Tikal, Peten
Dec 30 - Aurora Hotel, Antigua
Dec 31-Jan 3 - Posada de Santiago, Santiago Atitlan
Jan 4 - Casa Azul, Antigua
Jan 5 - Hotel Viva Clarion Suites, Guatemala City

Jan 6-18 - Honduras
Jan 6-8 - Hotel Plaza, Copan Ruinas
Jan 9 - Hotel de Paris, La Ceiba
Jan 10 - 17- Plantation Beach Resort, Cayos Cochinos (Hog Islands), Bay Islands

Jan 18-24 - Guatemala
Jan 18-20 - Hotel Viva Clarion Suites, Guatemala City
Jan 21 - Volcan San Marcos (Camping), Lake Atitlan
Jan 22 - Santa Catarina Hotel, Lake Atitlan
Jan 23 - Viva Clarion Suites Hotel, Guatemala City

Jan 24 - Mexico

Jan 24-29 - Houston
Jan 24-25 - Drury Inn, The Woodlands
Jan 26-29 - Holiday Inn Select, Houston

Jan 30 - Los Angeles
Jan 30 - Embassy Suites Hotel, Los Angeles

Jan 31 - United Airlines Flight #1, Somewhere over the Pacific
Feb 1-6 - Thailand
Feb 1 - Quality Inn Suites, Bangkok
Feb 2-3 - Taepae Place Hotel, Chiang Mai
Feb 4 - "Guesthouse", Karen Village
Feb 5 - Taepae Place Hotel, Chiang Mai

Feb 6-10 - Laos
Feb 6-9 - Lang Xhiang Guesthouse, Luong Probang

Feb 10-13 - Thailand
Feb 10 - Overnight "Express" Train to Bangkok
Feb 11-12 - Ambassador Hotel, Bangkok

Feb 13-16 - Cambodia
Feb 13-15 - Ankgor Hotel, Siem Reap

Feb 16-March 3 - India
Feb 16 - Ashoka Palace, Delhi
Feb 17 - Surya Hotel, Delhi
Feb 18 - Jaypee Palace Hotel, Agra
Feb 19 - Hotel Sariska Palace, Sariska National Park, Alwar, Rajasthan
Feb 20-24 - Hotel Samode Palace, Samode, Rajasthan
Feb 25 - Samode Bagh ("Garden" - Camping), Samode, Rajasthan
Feb 26-28 - Hotel Gorbandh Palace, Jaiselmar, Rajasthan
Feb 29 - Camel Safari, Jaiselmar, Rajasthan
March 1 - Hotel Gorbandh Palace, Jaiselmar, Rajasthan
March 2 - Overnight "Express" Train to Delhi
March 3-13 - Nepal
March 3 - Hotel Shanker, Kathmandu
March 4-6 - Radisson Hotel, Kathmandu
March 7-10 - Bardia Jungle Cottages, Royal Bardia National Park, Thakura
March 11-12 - Radisson Hotel, Kathmandu

March 13-22 - Bhutan
March 13-14 - Hotel Gangtey Palace, Paro
March 15 - Taktsang Hotel, Thimpu
March 16 - Camping in a snow field at 12,200 feet outside the Phajoding Monestary near Thimpu
March 17 - Taktsang Hotel, Thimpu
March 18 -Hotel Y.T. (Yeshay Tenzin),Lobesa, Punakha
March 19-21 - Hotel Gangtey Palace, Paro

March 22-April 12 - Nepal
March 22 - Radisson Hotel, Kathmandu
March 23-27 - Mirabel Resort, Dhulikhel
March 28 - Radisson Hotel, Kathmandu
March 29 - Trekking - Dunche (Langtang Region)
March 29 - Trekking - Srybru (Langtang Region)
March 31 - Trekking - Bamboo (Langtang Region)
April 1 - Trekking - Lama Hotel (Langtang Region)
April 2 - Trekking - Goratabela (Langtang Region)
April 3 - Trekking - Langtang Village (Langtang Region)
April 4 - Trekking - Goratabela [Family ex. Dick, Dick at Kenching Gompa] (Langtang Region)
April 5 - Trekking - Lama Hotel [Family ex. Dick, Dick at Langtang Village] (Langtang Region)
April 6 - Trekking - Lama Hotel (Langtang Region)
April 7 - Trekking - Bamboo (Langtang Region)
April 8 - Trekking - Srybru Besi (Langtang Region)
April 9-11 - Radisson Hotel, Kathmandu

April 12-13 - Thailand
April 12 - Quality Inn Suites, Bangkok

April 13-May 2 - Japan
April 13-16 - Hotel Intercontinental Tokyo Bay, Tokyo
April 17 - Yamakoshi Ryokan, Kojira Toogendai, Hakone
April 18-19 - Hotel Intercontinental Tokyo Bay, Tokyo
April 20-22 - Ryokan Nishikiro, Kyoto
April 23 - New Matsuo Ryokan, Hiroshima
April 24-April 28 - Yamaichi-Bekkan Ryokan, Miyajima Island
April 29 - Rai Rai Ryokan, Miyajima Island
April 30 - Yamaichi-Bekkan Ryokan, Miyajima Island
May 1 - Hotel Intercontinental Tokyo Bay, Tokyo

May 2-5 - China
May 2-4 - Crowne Plaza, Beijing

May 5-6 - Germany
May 5 - Hotel Feger Comfort Inn - Frankfurt

May 6-June 5 - Greece
May 6-7 - Athenian Inn, Athens
May 8-9 - Perissa Hotel, Perissa, Santorini
May 10-June 4 - Kima Villa, Oia, Santorini

June 5-6 - Holland
June 5 - Radisson SAS, Amsterdam

June 6 - KLM Flight #593, Somewhere over Africa

June 7-16 - Namibia
June 7 - Pension Handke, Windhoek
June 8 - Canon Lodge Roadhouse, Fish River Canyon
June 9 - Movenpick Lodge, Sossusvlei
June 10-11 - Pension Rapmund, Swakopmund
June 12-13 - Mokuti Lodge, Etosha
June 14-15 - Mount Etjo Safari Lodge, Mount Etjo, Waterberg

June 16-23 - Botswana
June 16-18 - Semetsi Lodge, Okavango Delta
June 19-22 - Chobe Safari Lodge, Kasane

June 23-26 - Namibia
June 23-25 - Ichingo Lodge, Impalila Island

June 26-27 - Botswana
June 26 - Chobe Safari Lodge, Kasane

June 27 - Zimbabwe

June 27-29 - Zambia
June 27-28 - Taita Falcon Lodge

June 29-30 - Kenya
June 29 - Fairview Hotel, Nairobi
June 30 - Amboselli Serena Lodge, Amboselli National Park, Masai Mara

July 1-11 - Tanzania
July 1-2 - Impala Hotel, Arusha
July 3 - Buffalo Pools Campsite, Tarangire National Park
July 4-5 - Tamarind Campsite, Hangden Village, Karatu District, Lake Eyasi
July 6-7 - Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
July 8-10 - Kuro Campsite, Seronera, Serengeti National Park

July 11 - KLM Flight #569, Somewhere over Africa

July 12-13 - Holland
July 12 - Radisson SAS, Amsterdam

July 13-Aug 4 - France
July 13-14 - Touring Hotel, St. Leonard de Bois, Sarthe
July 15 - Gite Le Rocher, Moulins-le-Carbonnel, Sarthe
July 16 - La Mere Poulard, Mount St. Michele
July 17-21 - Gite Le Rocher, Moulins-le-Carbonnel, Sarthe
July 22-28 - Gite La Rosseliere, St. Leonard de Bois, Sarthe
July 29 - Le Moulin de L'inthe, St. Leonard de Bois, Sarthe
July 30 - Chambres d'Hotes La Pechotiere, Valleres, Loire Valley
July 31 - Chambres d'Hotes Genevieve Besson, Saint-Aignan-Sur-Cher
Aug 1 - On Board the Montrichard in the Cher River, Outside Chateau Chenonceau, Blere
Aug 2 -Chambres d'Hotes de Mr. Remi Lacroix,Vegennes, Dordogne
Aug 3 - Hotel Le Quercy, Brive

August 4-8 - Denmark
Aug 4-5 - The Mayfair Hotel, Copenhagen
Aug 6-7 - Hotel Propellen, Legoland, Billund

August 8-17 - Norway
August 8-9 - Yttervik's Rorbuer og Sjohus, Stamsund, Lofoten Islands
August 10-11 -Ingor og Jor Moller's Rorbucamp, Reine, Lofoten Islands
August 12 - Raddison SAS, Bodo
August 13 - 15 - Raddison SAS Norge Hotel, Bergen
August 16 - Tulip Inn Rainbow Hotell Munch, Oslo